Best Way to Improve Fishing Skills

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Every fishing trip is a learning experience. I always replay the fishing day after I come home and pick out mistakes and good moves. The best way to become a better angler is to get out and do it. I learn something new with every trip. Sometimes I learn something about myself.

Never Stay in the Same Spot

I went to the lake that’s closest to me and was keen to try out a new spoon. Turned out that was a bad idea. It snows here in Massachusetts.  Even though it’s early spring, the water was still cold. The trout were too sluggish to chase after a spoon.

I rigged a rod with a PowerBait mice tail and tossed that out in case that’s what the trout wanted. Always try something different with your second rod. If I’m throwing spoons or other lures for active fish, I often have another rod fishing the bait and wait technique.

After an hour fishing this lake, without seeing any sign of fish, I decided to try somewhere else. If there’s trout you’ll usually see the telltale rings in the water letting you know that they’re out there. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that I use the rings as a way to decide if there are active fish nearby.

On this trip, I saw no evidence of active fish. So I packed up my gear and drove to another lake. This is an important lesson. Always move around. Sometimes fish are active in one spot of a lake more than another. Sometimes, especially in early spring when the water’s still cold, the fish aren’t active at all. So it’s best to try another lake or river.

Consider the Weather for Lure Choice

The big mistake of the day was caused by my eagerness to try out a new spoon. This unique spoon was manufactured in the USA by a gentleman who recently passed away. So the supply I have are all that’s left. This design, as far as I know, was his invention. I’ve never seen anything like it before. So I really wanted to test it out.

Unfortunately the water was cold and was making the trout lethargic and not inclined to hang out close to shore. I’m fairly sure the trout were huddled somewhere in the middle of the lake as deep as they could get, trying to stay warm.

Using the spoon under those conditions was a bad idea, I should have known better. But my excitement about the new spoon got the better of me.

Moving to a smaller and shallower lake was a good idea. The trout had no where to hide, making this a better choice for fishing on a very cold day.

Lure Visibility Makes a Difference

It’s commonly known that lure color does not make much of a difference, except when fish are focused on a specific kind of bait. But even then, the way the lure moves and the size are still more important than color.

So why do fisherman swear by certain colors? I believe the reason isn’t the color itself but rather the visibility of the lure. What affects the visibility of the lure is the water condition and whether the sky is sunny or overcast.

On this particular day the sky had turned overcast. So a white colored PowerBait mice tail didn’t work. So I switched to an orange colored lure. My thinking was that there was minimal light and the bright orange of the lure would call attention to itself. I cast out and in less than a minute I was fighting a decent sized rainbow trout.

This rainbow trout was fooled by an orange colored mice tail lure.

This rainbow trout was fooled by an orange colored mice tail lure on a cold and overcast day.


Be Open to Changing Lure Colors

Sometimes a lure color works and then it stops working. That’s what happened. For most lakes where I live, pink and orange lures work best. The orange produced a nice fat rainbow trout. The spoon continued to not work. Now the orange mice tail stopped working.

When a spot is hot it’s usually because the trout are stacked up in that area. Sometimes trout will school together and huddle in one spot or simply swim in circles in that spot. So when they’re schooling tightly in one spot it’s best to stay there.

But that wasn’t the case today.  Freshly planted trout school together. Holdover trout, trout that were from a previous season, generally do not school together.  I suspect that the lake hadn’t been stocked yet and I was currently dealing with wary (but hungry) holdover trout.

So I packed up my gear and drove over to the other side of the lake. I could have walked to the other side of the lake, the lake is that small. But I wanted convenience.

Once on the other side of the lake I cast out the orange lure and waited. Nothing happened. So I dug around in the tackle bag and found an old and torn up pink lure. It wasn’t even in the original package. It was in a quart size plastic bag. I don’t know but it seems to me that trout like the beat up mice tails with  holes in them.

Large trout caught on a pink colored lure. The day was overcast and very cold.

So I put the hook in it and cast it out. About ten minutes later the strike indicator started moving and I caught another nice sized rainbow trout. That was trout number two.

By this time I was getting hungry, it was almost dinner time. Plus I was cold. So I packed up and drove home, happy with my two nice sized rainbow trout and several lessons learned.

Learning How to Fish Never Stops

I was driving home a better angler than when I stepped out of the house that afternoon.  And that’s how fishing works. The more you fish, the better you get.

It’s great to read this site and to read books and hang out in forums. But you’ll never ever become the master angler you want to be unless you put in your time on the water. It’s amazing, the learning the never stops.



Disclosure: This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a commission from products purchased at through my links at no extra cost to you. Reviews on reflect my actual testing and opinion of the products reviewed.
Filed in: How to Fish

4 Comments on "Best Way to Improve Fishing Skills"

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  1. behzad says:

    I used your method on setting the mice tail rig, and caught my limit yesterday April 25th

    • Roger says:

      That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
      These lures work amazing for rainbow trout. They even work after multiple uses, even when they have holes and rips in them. So cost effective too!

  2. behzad says:

    As far as best way of improving my fishing skills, I do pretty much the same way as you do, I change location , have a set of Spoons as well as Cast master, and roster tail lures of almost all colors you can think of, And have learned over period that pink and blue combination works great for Rain Bow

    • Roger says:

      Many anglers do well with Rooster Tails but I have to say that I’ve always found them difficult to use. Maybe I don’t fish them fast enough?
      In any case, I’m going to be giving away all of my rooster tail lures soon. Sign up for my newsletter so you get the announcement. 😉

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